Mandatory checks on lorry drivers at Ikla border abandoned ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A queue of trucks at the border crossing point at Ikla in South Estonia during the emergency situation.
A queue of trucks at the border crossing point at Ikla in South Estonia during the emergency situation. Source: Verner Vilgas/ERR

Mandatory checks for truck drivers have been stopped leading to a reduction in queues on Wednesday morning at Ikla on the border with Latvia.

After the introduction of border control on the Estonian-Latvian border in Ikla on Tuesday, a line of freight vehicles queued for up to 10km.

Viljar Lubi, Undersecretary for Economic Development at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said at a press conference on Wednesday critical goods are currently being given priority.

He said it was a priority for trade to continue, otherwise, it would completely shut down the economy.

"The situation this morning is that there is no queue at least in Ikla. The first signal from the border was also that a green corridor had to be created where critical goods, medical supplies, groceries could be put in the queue. It worked," he said. "In fact, truck drivers are no longer submitted to mandatory identity checks. So this has significantly eased the queue tension at the borders."

Speaking about supply difficulties and the situation on the Polish-Lithuanian border, where long queues have also formed, Lubi said the situation can change in a matter of hours.

"At the moment, we are working on all alternatives, if we need it, we will have to secure the trade route," he said.

The majority of vehicles which drive between Estonia and Latvia passes through Ikla.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the government temporarily restored border control on the country's land border, as well as at ports and airports, on March 17. 

Aim of support package is to preserve jobs and ensure companies' liquidity

Lubi said the ministry is watching the health of the economy and the biggest problem is the rapid loss of revenue base due to the market shock. Currently, the ministry is working on a mitigation package that would be quick and effective.

"The focus is on two aspects: how to keep people's jobs for as long as possible, and secondly, how to ensure corporate liquidity. Without a revenue base, no turnover, many companies will have a problem fulfilling their responsibilities," he said.

The package is likely to have three components: labor market measures, the details of which will be laid down by the unemployment fund, liquidity measures, in particular Kredex, whose capacity will be significantly increased, in close consultation with banks and financial institutions, and all tax issues in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance.

The ministry has been in close contact with companies and professional associations and hopefully the package will be largely in line with what the companies have been asking the state for, he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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